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Job Start Payment

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to promote the new job start payments to young people. (S5O-03907)

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

We are committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible for financial support receives it. Social Security Scotland has developed a strategic communications plan to promote job start payments to potential applicants and those who advise and support them. The plan builds on the lessons learned from the successful introduction of our seven current benefits and our benefit take-up strategy. Our principle that social security is an investment in people means that we will continue to actively promote the benefits we deliver.

Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary have any suggestions about what more the Department for Work and Pensions could do to promote and signpost Scotland’s social security benefits through its channels in Scotland, such as jobcentres?

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

I believe that the DWP could do a lot more to promote all social security benefits, whether they are reserved or devolved. The difference in approach between the Scottish and United Kingdom Governments is that we want people to get the financial support that they are eligible for, and we genuinely encourage that take-up.

I very much hope that the DWP will support us in promoting and signposting Scottish benefits. A clear case in point would be jobcentres encouraging potential applicants to contact Social Security Scotland to see whether they are eligible, particularly with regard to job start payments, for which jobcentres will be meeting and working with young people face to face. I would like the DWP to work with the Scottish Government to support those young people into employment, and I very much hope that it will.